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European Vacation Two Weeks of Pure Bliss

Experiences

by: Kerri Zynen

lifelong dream recently came true when a few good friends, my boyfriend Rojo and I booked tickets for two unforgettable weeks in Spain and France. We had never been and I immediately began to wonder, where does the first-time Europe traveler begin to prepare? That is a daunting question for those who have never made the voyage across the Atlantic to the diverse continent full of history, culture and awaiting adventures. Doing the Research We dove headfirst into research by reading every blog and review we could find. I constantly searched Google, overanalyzing every decision because I didn’t want to miss anything. Eventually I realized you just have to CHOOSE. There’s no way to know what the perfect decisions are going to be, and there’s not enough time to try and figure it out. So, we embraced the unknown, figured out the essentials and started our journey. To begin the trip, we hopped on a bus to downtown Dublin during a layover in Ireland. We ended up at a lively pub with delicious fish and chips, refreshing Irish beer and traditional Irish music surrounding us. It was my first taste of spontaneity and the beginning of a magical European adventure. Destination: Spain In Madrid we stumbled upon a Spanish improv show, explored the busy city streets and discovered “churros con chocolate.” We got lost (literally) in the narrow stone roads of Toledo, Spain, and after a stop in the local market, cooked breakfast while overlooking the entire town. In Granada, Spain, we wandered around the Alhambra’s palace and gardens, captivated by the

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incredible Moor architecture. We saw a bullfight in Seville, a truly intense experience, especially when the matador was nearly gored by the bull! We witnessed a traditional Flamenco dance, also in Seville, and I will never forget the passion in the dancers’ eyes. We shared Spanish tapas dinners and sipped on the most delicious Sangria we’ve ever had. In Barcelona, we discovered the whimsical architectural style of Gaudi through Park Güell and the Sagrada Família. Eiffel Tower One of the greatest highlights of the trip was our visit to the Eiffel Tower. Rojo and I found an area with music playing and we snuck past the professionals to dance in the corner. We joined our friends on a ledge watching the Tower sparkle and change colors as we talked the night away. We sipped on wine from the bottle and laughed for hours. We attended a EuroCup soccer game in Paris and chanted with the roaring crowd, an unforgettable experience. We strolled through the ornate Palace of Versailles and its gardens with umbrellas to shield us from the rain. We even maneuvered to the front of the crowd at the Louvre to get a selfie with Mona Lisa! Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff For the next adventure, I will remind myself not to stress over the decisions leading up to trip. While it’s important to be prepared, the magic of the trip is not about selecting the best-reviewed restaurant or the top tourist attraction. The magic of the trip is in the journey, the spontaneity, the people, the laughs, the breathtaking scenery and the unexpected. No Google search or travel book can prepare you for those things. 45

Hotel Guide - Summer 2 Edition - 2016  

Experience some of the best destinations, attractions and events in our latest edition. Read it. Share it. #TravelMatters

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